Video Will Help Mafia; Clinton Enticed; Geraldo: Gingrich a Misogynist
1) FNC's Carl Cameron uniquely reported Clinton's personal intimidation and that Democrats also threatened. CBS's Eric Engberg insisted the video release means Clinton's being treated worse than John Gotti and it will make Mafia prosecutions harder.
>>> The September 21 edition of MediaWatch is now on the MRC home page thanks to MRC Web manager Sean Henry and research associate Kristina Sewell. Articles include a page one look at NBC's promotion of Hillary Clinton; a Review of how the networks reacted to Starr's report; a page 4 piece on network admiration for Clinton's prayer breakfast "contrition"; and an On the Bright Side by the MRC's Clay Waters on how Clinton's lawyers were pressed on two Sunday morning shows. Plus Newsbites: "Tiny Cup of Joe" by MRC analyst Mark Drake documents how little coverage Senator Lieberman's floor speech generated, in "Ducking Donna" MRC analyst Jessica Anderson points out how only NBC picked up on the angry exchange between Donna Shalala and Bill Clinton, and "Stafford Smears" by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens highlights how NBC reporter Rob Stafford contended Reagan slept around too.
Correction: The September 16 CyberAlert misspelled the name of one of the ministers to be consulted weekly by Clinton. His name is Tony Campolo.
The all-day House Judiciary Committee meeting on the release of Starr-gathered evidence, including the video of Clinton's grand jury testimony, led the ABC, CNN and FNC evening shows Thursday night. Only ABC highlighted how the committee Democrats spent the day delaying the process by offering "amendment after amendment." CBS went first with the "vicious fight" over the hit on Hyde and how Republican leaders demanded the FBI investigate any White House involvement. NBC combined the two stories into one, as reporter Gwen Ifill offered this bit of moral equivalence between the raising of Hyde's relationship from 30 years ago and Clinton lying in a grand jury a month ago: "The President's future hanging in the balance as Republicans and Democrats face off over how far they should go in exposing the private lives of public officials..."
Lending credibility to GOP concerns about White House involvement in smearing Republicans, CBS's Bob Schieffer and CNN's Candy Crowley played a clip of Roger Clinton saying those in "glass houses" should be cautious. FNC's Carl Cameron uniquely asserted that 20 Judiciary Committee members from both parties feel their private backgrounds are being checked. Cameron also tied Clinton directly to the effort, relaying that three Democratic lawmakers "felt the President was making a veiled threat when he suggested that the current atmosphere of scandal means no public official should expect private matters to remain secret."
Only CBS's Scott Pelley, on Clinton lawyer David Kendall's complaint about how Starr gave it to the House in order to "embarrass" the President, pointed out how Clinton had refused six appearance requests and had to be subpoenaed, then refused to go to the courthouse. But, minutes later, CBS reporter Eric Engberg portrayed Clinton as a victim being treated worse than Nixon, Noriega and the Mafia's John Gotti, insisting the video release would have a "bad effect on the legal system."
Here are some highlights from the Thursday, September 17 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings began the show:
Linda Douglass handled the video story, emphasizing how Democrats delayed a decision by forcing votes on "amendment after amendment." She also highlighted how calls to Senator Diane Feinstein's office are running two-to-one against Clinton.
After Jennings noted that the judge in Arkansas had provided the Judiciary Committee with a tape of Clinton's Jones deposition, Sam Donaldson reviewed Clinton's day, starting with praise from Senator Tom Harkin at a union convention in DC where Clinton was "warmly received." Then on to Cincinnati where both papers have called for him to resign. ABC showed demonstrators outside of the fundraiser Clinton headlined. Donaldson moved to the Hyde case, noting that White House Chief-of-Staff Erskine Bowles promised a firing if the leak came from the White House. Following a clip of Tom DeLay demanding an FBI probe, Donaldson assured viewers: "Presidential aide Sidney Blumenthal, widely suspected of being the leaker, denied it in a written statement."
Finally, Aaron Brown compared Clinton's situation to that faced by past politicians caught on tape: "We did see President Reagan testify in an Iran Contra trial and he didn't look very good, but he was already out of office and national life had moved on. Here will be the President facing prosecutors in a forum, the grand jury, that by design is one-sided and by law almost always forever secret...."
Up first, Bob
Schieffer on how "another vicious fight has broken out" as
Republicans asked the FBI to probe the Hyde story for any connection to
the White House. Sidney Blumenthal denies any involvement Schieffer noted,
"but the Republicans are furious."
Dan Rather next
asserted: "For his part President Clinton said he and the First Lady
are, quote 'doing fine.' They attended fundraisers in two cities and
implemented shifts in the President's legal strategy even as his legal
problems just multiplied."
Introducing the third story of the night, Dan Rather complained: "What happened to the long established practice that testimony before a grand jury is and remains secret. So what's going on here?"
Eric Engberg answered by painting Clinton as being treated worse than
several notorious figures: "Secrecy in the grand jury is so sacred
prosecutors never disclosed what the testimony was about disgraced former
President Nixon, or thug dictator Manuel Noriega or Mafia kingpin John
Gotti. No such luck for Bill Clinton. One of the few people in America
whose grand jury testimony can be made public."
Later, the CBS show ended with a story by Richard Schlesinger, featuring feminist Naomi Wolf as the only expert run in soundbites, on how the Starr report shows Lewinsky thought she was owed a job and it was she who pushed Clinton to help her get one.
Second, Candy Crowley pointed out that the story on Hyde followed revelations about Dn Burton and Helen Chenoweth, all fueling GOP demands for an FBI look into any White House involvement. After allowing Clinton spokesman Joe Lockhart to accuse the GOP of exploiting the event, Crowley observed:
think just because the White House didn't uncover a story doesn't mean
they didn't pass it along. And there is some basis for Republican
Third, John King on how Clinton is trying to prove he still has political power, but he "is shadowed by controversy wherever he goes." He was welcomed at a union meeting and is able to raise money, but "the road is no refuge from scandal" as both Cincinnati papers demanded resignation.
CNN anchor Joie Chen noted that daughters of both Starr and Clinton are now at Stanford, and that calls are flooding Capitol Hill and have doubled to 15,000 per day. Garrick Utley asked if Clinton's confession was genuine or slick political maneuver? It's a question religious leaders are debating as they must decide if forgiveness means he can keep his job.
Later in the show, FNC became the only network to report that after Attorney General Reno refused another request for fundraising memos, Congressman Dan Burton filed a contempt report with the full House.
suggested both sides are just as guilty: "The President's future
hanging in the balance as Republicans and Democrats face off over how far
they should go in exposing the private lives of public officials..."
In NBC's second
of just two scandal stories, David Bloom honed in on how the GOP letter to
the FBI singles out Sidney Blumenthal. Bloom claimed the White House was
already on top of the problem:
The MRC's year-end Best of Notable Quotables always features the "Good Morning Morons Award." Here's a top contender caught by MRC news analyst Clay Waters.
conservative columnist Betsy Hart on September 17 Good Morning America
co-host Lisa McRee suggested Clinton deserves sympathy as Lewinsky's
victim, unable to resist her enticements:
The Today tag team of Katie Couric and Matt Lauer are disturbed Clinton's videotaped testimony will be released and Lauer wondered why Starr should not have to pick up the tab for the money spent by his office.
-- At the top of Thursday's Today, MRC analyst Mark Drake noticed, Couric whined: "I guess while Congress decides, a lot of people in this country are groaning at the very prospect of seeing this videotape and networks are grappling with how to show it."
Russert later, Lauer portrayed the Republicans as the non-partisan
obstructionists, not the Democrats who are blocking the wish of the
majority of the House to release all the evidence:
-- On Wednesday, September 16, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens documented how Couric and Lauer found legitimacy in Clintonite claims that Starr owes money for not delivering evidence of wrongdoing on non-Lewinsky matters.
"The President will face reporter's questions today just as some
members of Congress are asking some new and very interesting
Later, while interviewing Senator Frank Murkowski who proposed that Clinton be fined by being made to pay the cost of the Lewinsky investigation, Today showed a clip of Mike McCurry saying Starr should then pay for the other $36 million. Lauer found the idea appealing: "Senator, he brings up an interesting point. If there were no major revelations in the Starr report about all the gates, Filegate, Travelgate, Whitewater, why shouldn't Ken Starr then pick up the other portion of the tab?"
Outing Henry Hyde thrilled Geraldo Rivera, prompted him to bring aboard the wronged husband and to claim that Newt Gingrich is just as much a misogynist as Clinton since he too prefers oral sex. On Thursday's Rivera Live on CNBC he exalted: "Isn't this new era of the sexual witch hunt inevitable? Aren't these suddenly panicked members of Congress now reaping what Ken Starr has sowed?"
Rivera interviewed Fred Snodgrass, the husband of the woman with whom Hyde had an affair in he 1960s. He said that he told his story to Norman Sommers and it was he who publicized it. Though Sommers called the White House and left messages, Snodgrass assured Rivera that no one ever called back. Snodgrass blamed Hyde for how two of his three children won't talk to him. Rivera asked: "Do you believe that Mr. Hyde is a hypocrite?" Snodgrass agreed Hyde is not qualified to judge Clinton.
But Rivera was just getting warmed up, proclaiming: "In recent weeks we have heard the sexual confessions now of Republicans Dan Burton and Helen Chenoweth. And earlier this program reported on long ago allegations that Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey sexually harassed several female students when he was a college professor back in Texas."
Then he jumped on Speaker Newt Gingrich, quoting from an AP story on how Gingrich told colleagues in a Wednesday meeting that Starr's account of Clinton "depicts him as a 'misogynist'" since Clinton got oral sex without touching or satisfying Lewinsky sexually. Rivera made sure viewers understood that the word misogynist is defined as a hater of women.
Holding up a 1995
copy of Vanity Fair, Rivera then read from an August 10, 1995 AP story on
Gail Sheehy's profile of Gingrich in that magazine. Sheehy had reported
that Gingrich had affairs during his first marriage, including one with
campaign volunteer Anne Manning in 1976-77. Rivera read aloud the AP
story, interspersing a few comments and clarifications of his own:
An indignant and
angry Rivera, his voice rising as he went, then declared:
Rivera didn't even finish the show, turning it over to Marcia Clark, so he could go on vacation. Rivera explained that he wants to sail around the world, but his job won't let him so he's just sailing three or four days at a time and will take advantage of Monday's Jewish holiday. Too bad he isn't taking off for a trip around the world.
And finally, from the "Top Ten Ways to Get Disqualified from the Miss America Pageant" as announced on the September 17 Late Show with David Letterman, number 6: "My name is Monica and my talent is....Well, here I'll show you." -- Brent Baker
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